Invitation to the Blues by Roan Parris
Wow….just wow! This was my first full length novel by Roan Parrish and she has found herself a new fan. Despite this book being the second in the Small Change series, I felt it worked well as a stand alone (in saying that I have picked up Small Change – book #1 – to read!) so if that was a reason you were thinking of not picking it up, do so anyway!!
This is so much more than a romance novel – it’s a book about the realities of living with depression and anxiety, the impact this can have on family and friends and ultimately, the paralysing nature of this condition to those who live with it. And I cannot praise Roan enough for tackling a difficult issue in a genre that can often (but I know isn’t always) be full of fluff. Jude Lucen was a character that I connected with so deeply and even though I haven’t experienced depression and anxiety to the same degree that he has, some of his thoughts, his actions, his motivations I could identify with and it was gratifying to be able to empathise with his character this way. And Faron Locklear – OMG, this man is just so super-duper swoon-worthy!! His ability to innately understand what Jude needed or didn’t need, wanted or didn’t want – Faron is the man, the partner, that all people with depression and anxiety need in their life. Sure, he isn’t perfect – no one is – but I spent so much of this book in absolute awe of the things Faron did for Jude, without even being asked most of the time, that it was just so beautiful to read about.
“You don’t want to choose,” he said. “Choosing feels hard because it could always be a mistake. And if it’s a mistake and you chose it, then it’s your fault. You don’t want it to be your fault. You already feel guilty enough. You don’t want to feel any more.”
The story is one that happens fluidly and naturally, it just flows and isn’t forced. As the reader, you go on the journey with Jude as he learns to live again, as he realises that life can be more than the hell he was living in with his ex in Boston, as he reconnects with his brother Christopher and forms new relationships and bonds with those around him. Being told solely from Jude’s POV was ideal for this book and as Faron was the type of man who had an fundamental honesty about him, I never felt that I was missing out by not being privy to “seeing” the story from his perspective.
I know it shouldn’t, but it does still shock me when I can find yet another new author who I absolutely love!! And Roan is now one of my must-read, one-click authors. To write with such authenticity, such emotion, such beauty – it’s definitely something I want more of!
Amazon/Goodreads rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️